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Did you always know you wanted to become an actor? Perhaps when you were a child, you were certain that everything else in life would take a backseat to your one true love. If so, here are some of your kindred thespian spirits in their own words discussing their childhood acting passions. 

“I wanted to be a child actor so bad that every day I’d beg my parents if I could audition, but my mom said, ‘Not until you can drive yourself to auditions.’” —New Girl actress Zooey Deschanel 

“I always wanted to become an actor. My parents knew I was an outgoing child, and whenever people came over, I’d automatically do impressions of them as soon as they left. It was my mom’s favorite thing.” —The Revenant actor Leonardo DiCaprio

“My dad took me for an audition once to show me, ‘Okay, you want to be a child actor? This is what it’s like.’ I sang a folk song about donkeys on this West End stage with this big director, and there was a queue of 200 girls all singing ‘Memory.’ I was terrible. Terrible.” —Game of Thrones actress Emilia Clarke 

A Star Is Born actor Sam Elliott says his childhood passion was to become an actor. He said, “I was single-minded on what I wanted to do since I was like nine or ten.” In turn, Sam’s dad told his mom, “He’s got a snowball’s chance in hell of havin’ a career in that town.” 

Sin City actress Jessica Alba said she always wanted to be an actress. She recalls, “I was really uncomfortable in my own skin, and so if I got to be someone else, there was something so liberating about that. I really loved superheroes, and so I always wanted to be one.”

“I always wanted to act. I started acting as a kid and I was in school plays, that kind of thing. I wasn’t in Los Angeles, I was in school plays, community theater. —Grey’s Anatomy actress Kate Walsh

“My mom had an audition for a commercial when I was about two and a half, and I ran in crying and interrupted her. They thought I was cute, so they offered me a commercial role. My mom was skeptical and a bit nervous about the child actor thing, but I was extremely bossy and convinced them I wanted to try it.” —Good Girls actress Mae Whitman

“I always wanted to be an actor. I was one of those lucky kids, or cursed kids, who always knew what he wanted to do.” —The West Wing actor Tim Mathson

“I always knew that I wanted to work, and I knew I wanted to be a singer and an actor. I knew that every choice I made would help me get to that point. So the better the choices I made, the more of a chance I would have to get to where I wanted to be.” —Glee‘s Lea Michele

“I grew up in Wisconsin. It’s not like growing up in New York or L.A. where you know somebody’s cousin who does this. It was in the back of my mind, but I would never say that I wanted to be an actor. But as I look back, I was in every play I could possibly be in.” —The West Wing actor Bradley Whitford

“I wanted to be an actress before I wanted to be a singer. But I couldn’t make it as an actress; I was bad at auditioning. I never got a job.” — A Star Is Born actress Lady Gaga

“When I was a kid, I was really interested in acting, and I started doing some theater in school plays. I was living 45 minutes outside of Manhattan, and I wanted to segue into doing something on a professional level.” —The Vampire Diaries actor Paul Wesley

“I knew from a young age that I wanted to perform. I went to an arts camp called Brookdale Arts Camp in New Jersey from the time I was six, and then I was a counselor there through high school.” — The Big Bang Theory actress Melissa Rauch

At what age did you find your passion for acting?

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